5 Secrets Your Line Staff Wishes You Knew (LTL mag online)

Here’s my latest article in Long-Term Living magazine online, 5 Secrets Your Line Staff Wishes You Knew:

Click-clack. Click-Clack.  The hard-bottomed shoes of the administrator echoed through the halls once again, this time accompanied by the high heels of the director of nursing. The crepe-soled nursing staff moved about the floor, silently hoping the bigwigs would notice and address the problems that frustrate them on a daily basis.

Do you ever wonder what your staff isn’t telling you? Are you puzzled why, despite all your efforts, the organization isn’t functioning as efficiently as you’d hoped? In January, I revealed the secrets your line staff doesn’t want you to know. Now, here are the secrets the staff won’t say, but wants to—secrets that will transform your facility.

1. The staff members who are doing their jobs properly wish you’d be on the floors more often. 

They’d never “rat out” their coworkers, but they’d like you to catch how often their colleagues disappear for unscheduled breaks, or the way they talk to some of the residents. Your frequent and unexpected presence raises the level of professionalism of your staff and keeps you in touch with the realities of day-to-day care. By taking some time to sit at the nursing station, for example, workers can observe and emulate your style of interacting with the residents and their families. Participating during the change of shift report can offer the opportunity to influence the type of information offered during this important transition. You become more familiar and approachable, rather than a “bigwig” in an office, and find out more of the information you need to know to make your nursing home proactive and productive.

2. All this disorganization is driving them crazy.

It’s not in the nursing job description to reorganize the file drawer—but isn’t it in somebody’s job description? Please, send someone over to put the forms in place, because if it takes each staff member 10 minutes to locate the MD order form, that is way too much time wasted. While you’re at it, organize the linen, pantry and supply closets—and make them the same on every floor, so floaters can quickly find the things they need. The time it takes to do this properly—with some forethought and planning about what goes where—will quickly pay off as multiple staff members on multiple floors can easily locate the tools essential for their jobs.

For more, visit LTL mag online: 5 Secrets Your LIne Staff Wishes You Knew

6 thoughts on “5 Secrets Your Line Staff Wishes You Knew (LTL mag online)”

  1. Yup, yup and yup. Especially to one, two and four. I would love it if they would ban the overhead paging completely. Our facility is slowly making changes for the better, but we’re still in that “two steps forward, one step backward” mode that makes everything go slower than I’d like. On the bright side, I feel like our management staff is doing everything in their power to make our facility the best it can be. It’s nice to have management staff who seem to want the best for our residents.

    • Glad to hear your facility is making positive changes, Tracy. It’s amazing how much hope can be injected into an organization when management generates small positive adjustments.

  2. Dr. El,
    Thank you for a great article! I was trying to figure out if we could start with just one thing, what would it be. I don’t know, #1 is particularly important, but all of them alone could transform an entire facility.

    • Thanks, Sue. If a choice has to be made, I agree about starting with #1, because from there, the other suggestions can be observed more clearly.

  3. I dearly wish our DON, who we almost NEVER see on the floor, and our facility director would find the time once in a while to just job shadow some of us. We’d feel like they had a better idea of what we’re facing on the floor each day, and they might have some bright ideas to make care better.

    • As you point out, Lisa, if nothing else, being on the floors helps staff members feel that the DON and director understand the daily challenges of the job. It’s likely that once there, they’ll learn something to create changes to make the facility run more smoothly.


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